Book and lyrics by Fiona O’Malley
Music by Joseph Alexander
Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NL to 30 August 2014
Mon – Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3pm
Runs 1 hr 45 mins One interval
TICKETS: 0844 4930 650
Review: William Russell 8 August
Grim and bear it.
That anybody could write a musical whose second act opened with a song called When Will This Nightmare End? beggars belief, but that is what one gets in Grim It’s a piece which certainly lives up to its title.
Not that the tunes are all bad – composer Joseph Alexander has come up with one or two rather pleasing melodies, although he has also devised some that are the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture especially the repetitive tinkling played during the interval.
The plot, devised by Fiona O’Malley, who also wrote the lyrics, is described as a love story to die for and the show undeniably dies. The action is set in a co-educational high school where the girls look like rejects from St Trinian’s and the top bloke admired by them all is Cupid, a hunky god of love. Grim, the unpopular new pupil dressed all in black lace, turns out to be the angel of death, she and Cupid fall in love, several people drop dead and the pupils blame Grim and led by a brash blonde called Cherry try to lynch her. In the end Grim and Cupid get together, head off into the sunset and love conquers all.
The large youthful cast do their best in the circumstances but it is a losing battle given the material they have to cope with.
Roseanna Christoforou (Grim) and Anthony Matteo (Cupid) sing nicely enough as do the large chorus but the choreography leaves a lot to be desired as do the costumes. The boys at least get white shirts to wear, but knee length socks and mini skirts, which the girls are lumbered with, is not a good look.
For anyone who collects musical disasters, Grim is an unmissable show, up there with 1971’s Romance, the daddy of them all, which starred Jess Conrad, Bill Simpson and Joyce Blair – but not for long. For anybody else it is just plain missable.
Grim: Roseanna Christoferou
Cupid: Anthony Matteo
Amelia: Georgi Mottram
Matthew: Jordan Veloso
Isabella: Izzy Roy
Cherry: Kathryn Rutherford
Sabrina: Rhiannon Drake
Ruby: Louisa Cameron
Teacher: Karina Toolan
Dance Captain: Sam Lathwood
Ensemble: Kelly Renders, Katherine Green, Kirsty Bascombe, Emily Little, Eleanor Palmer, Jade Jordan, Graham Hope, Matthew Overfield, Samuel Morgan-Grahame, Tristan Hyde, Andrew Binns, Adam Jay-Price
Director: Adam Wollerton
Lighting Designer: Jack Weir
Set and Costume Designer: Anna Driftmier
Co-choreographers: Adam Jay-Price and Sam Lathwood
Sound Designers: Tom Darby and Felipe Arvalo
Make Up Designer: Sophie Venes
Soundtrack recorded by Oliver Whillock and Joseph Alexander